Detained ex-Minister of Justice of Kazakhstan Marat Beketayev is arrested for two months.

October 23, 2023 Radio Free Europe

The Anti-Corruption Service of Kazakhstan reported that the investigative court authorized the arrest of former Minister of Justice Marat Beketayev, who will be detained for two months.

“We confirm that the detainee is ex-Minister of Justice M. Beketaev. Now the suspect is in custody with the sanction of the court. Other information in the interests of the investigation is not subject to disclosure,” said Arman Alibek, spokesman for the anti-corruption service, in response to Azattyk on Monday.

The agency reported on the detention of the former minister last Saturday, without publicizing the name of the detainee. The ex-official is suspected of abuse of office. Investigative bodies assume that Beketayev lobbied the interests of an affiliated company through the conclusion of annual contracts for the provision of unnecessary services, which caused “major damage to the state.”

Kazakh media, citing sources, writes that Beketayev was under a travel ban and allegedly tried to secretly leave Kazakhstan. It is reported that on October 21, the former official tried to fly to Istanbul and “further to London.” There is no official confirmation of this information. Representatives of the former official have not yet publicly commented on the arrest.

46-year-old Marat Beketayev headed the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan from 2016 to January 2022. Beketayev was one of the high-ranking officials removed from office after the January events, in which, according to official data, 238 people died. After the resignation of the minister, Beketayev was appointed adviser to the Prime Minister. He was dismissed as an adviser last December.

As Minister, Beketayev is remembered for his comments in connection with a long litigation in foreign courts between Moldovan businessman Anatol Stati and the government of Kazakhstan (Stati accused Astana of raiding the oil business and demanded payment of over half a billion dollars). The subject of criticism was also the law on advocacy and legal assistance developed by the Ministry of Justice: lawyers saw in the document the desire to strengthen control over them and deprive them of their independence, while Beketayev said that the law is aimed at “protecting the interests of clients of lawyers and legal advisers”.